The Nova Open part 2

Here we go. It seems my blog posts lately have been small books!  I will try to edit this down before I even write it. (Well I tried, but this ended up being a book any way. Skip to the end for final thoughts then be sure to read the article for explanations and details.)

In the time it has taken me to actually sit down and write this up, I have been able to read some of the other posts talking about the Nova.  Unfortunately they are going to have an effect on my unbiased writing. Most of the negative posts deal with the venue. They have merit. But they also dismiss the positive posts as being written by brown nosers or GT noobies impressed with any thing because it is new.  Well I am writing a positive post about The Nova. I believe that I can be considered one of the most traveled 40k players in the country so I am definitely not a GT noob, and brown nosing? What would I have to gain? Well Brandt did share some awesome whiskey with me...

Any way.

I will address more of the things I have read later. For now let me continue with my own style.

Friday was a relaxing day of 40k for me, capped off by being awarded one of my primary goals, Best Team Presentation.  I have to admit though, there was a feeling of weirdness. Some writers have dismissed the hurricane as the cause. Umm... I think it can be said, that if there was a weird vibe at The Nova, dismissing the hurricane that was about to hit us as the cause is simply ummm... stupid?. Irene loomed over The Nova like a 40 page thesis you have blown off until it's due date.

Irene had a major effect on vibe. Period. First of all, guys were delayed in getting there or didn't get there at all. They were leaving behind family members and houses, that were projected to get hit hard, to travel into DC for 4 days of gaming. It certainly affected my mood.  My wife, while accepting and not irate, was not happy I left and was home for 4 days taking care of our son while a Hurricane was projected to go right over them.  That affected my vibe. Smurf's wife was texting him every 30 seconds. Every time I heard his phone go off he looked at me with concern and worry.  The man was worried about his family. That affected his vibe.  So yes, The Nova felt, UNDERSTANDABLY, weird because of the anxiety in the room despite the fact all of us tried to hide it.  Friends were unable to travel in. Guys that flew in knew they were not going to be leaving on time. There was a hush of concern throughout the gaming hall. If you did not feel it, you are not human.  Jim decided at around 8pm Friday night that he would be leaving at 4am to take a train back to CT to be with his family.  He left the van for us to drive home.  This decision bummed me out and lessened my positive experience. Things like this happened all across the room.

This is not the fault of the Nova.

I read another review talking about the cramped space. I agree, it was cramped. There was little room for our display boards.  We were in a basement with low ceilings too, and dark lighting.  Do I think that was a problem? Not at all. I have been to GTs and played in more cramped and darker rooms that were ground level.  I think that concerning the space, The Nova did the best they could. Plus there were all sorts of nooks and crannies for us to spread out in. Sure, we could not comfortably congregate around the gaming tables while gaming was going on.  Frankly that's a blessing. I was forced to put my display board about 15 feet away from my table a few games and walk back and forth to get my models. I made due. I could use the exercise. I have dealt with worse.

Having said all that, did I have a bad time at The Nova? Did any of this cramp my enjoyment? Hells no.

  Some one wrote about rampant thievery and that really sucks for him, I feel bad that it happened. But, I saw none of that and I left stuff literally all over the place.  In fact, quite the opposite happened. On three different occasions guys returned to me things I had left elsewhere. A 6" tac template which it seems is destined to be lost (Dameon Green found it in PA and mailed it to me the previous year.), my swag bag with my codex inside, and even one of my assault marines that managed to sneak off my display. Guys found them, and brought them to me.  I feel bad for the guy who had stuff stolen from him, but I had a very different experience.  I encountered strangers with integrity and honesty. But he has a point too. Who the hell steals a man's cookies. That dude should be ashamed.

Woops went off on a tangent again.

So after all the weird vibes and hurricane fears we got down to business.  Saturday morning rolled around. It was still nice outside. I trundled on down to the gaming space and set up my army for display. This is always the best time of an event. I love seeing what the others have to offer. Joe Johnson for example. He and I have developed a friendly rivalry. I could not wait to show him my display, and see how I matched up against him. (It turns out he got me by a point I think in the overall painting score... damn conversions.)  I need to find that survey sent by Brandt and get conversions taken out of painting scores. :)

As it turns out, a very small number of people dropped from the event due to the storm.  With some minor delay, to rearrange the new pairings due to drops, we were on our way.

Game One:
Ok it has been a couple weeks now so I am writing completely from memory. Drunken, and foggy.  First of all I knew I would need a baby seal in game one to have a chance at going 3-1 on the day. I was in the misunderstanding that Ren Man was given out Saturday night based on day ones scores. I was hoping for a baby seal in game one, then a pairing with a low winner in game two, hopefully a guy playing above his pay grade.  That would lead me into a game 3 loss, and hopefully a game 4 narrow victory.

I set up and waited for my opponent.  And my wish was granted. I won't talk about the game because my opponent was a nooby playing in his first tournament after playing the game for about 8 months.  It was a teaching game and I have to say that he knew what he was doing with his army, just was lacking on the subtle nuances of 40k.  I lined him up for a total assault from my army, and when it happened the game ended.  We discussed the game at length after, going over choices, deployments, tactics and strengths and weakness of lists.  He was appreciative of my knowledge and help and I enjoyed the chance to share my experience.

On to Game Two:
Space Wolves
This guy was wearing the DC Big Gunz shirt. Forgive me if I got the exact name of the club wrong. The black and red bowling shirt. I have had nothing but fantastic experiences with these guys and I knew when I saw him that this would be a great game.  It was table quarter deployment and we lined up, I forget who went first but that was not really important. The LOS blocking terrain allowed me to get close and nullified his missile advantage. He had long fangs and lots and lots of terminators. The Wolf librarian character, and the captain guy who grants them And They Shall Know No Rules NOT. (They had every special rule, whenever they wanted them.)

He had his forces in a U shape, with heavy stuff on each end of the U and pointed at me.  His meaty goodness at the curve.  He attached his two characters to a 10 man termy squad in cover.  His shooting opened up and blammo, he immobilized my Land Raider first shot.  Crap.

We both knew that this game was going to come down to a massacre.  I was gona wipe him or he the same.  My speed allowed me to pick the point where that would be decided.  My instinct was telling me to go left, away from his characters. Wipe out the smaller squads on that point of his U with relatively few losses, then work my way over to the boss squad and hit them in force.  Then Mephiston and The Sanguinor would do mop up while my stragling survivors claimed objectives.  Losing my raider forced me to make a choice early. But the single determining factor was his priest blocking Mephistons powers.  With Meph unable to fly, I had to run him.  Deployment had him closer to the character end of the U, so towards the characters I went in force.  I sent my termies left because that was where the imobilized raider left them.  They got assaulted by a squad of termies, won then took out another squad and owned the flank.  But that is where I made my mistake.

In hind sight, I should have sent all of my assault marines and the Sanguinor left with the termies. They would have wiped out his entire army except for the 10 man termy squad and then had enough left to deal. Instead I went for his throat but split up my small forces trying to save Mephiston who had to go right.  I sent my marines and the sanguinor after the characters.  Meph got into combat with a dread. The sanguinor ran in against the rune priest in termy armor while I sent my power swords against the captain.  Well, Sang delivered 5 wounds to the priest. He made 4 of the saves and lived, then made about 6 armor saves from the few assault marines I had B2B with him.  The captain failed his saves and died, but the game was decided.  The squad wiped out my assault marines after losing only 5, and The Sang was stuck in combat, worse, the priest survived.  I still had a chance at this point though. Meph was tied up with the dread and I needed his powers to break free. But the living priest blocked me again. Then refused to die in round two of close combat with The Sang.  I sent in the rest of my assault marines to the fray, and they would take down most of the termies, but suffered heavy losses. The Sang would die as well. And the priest lived.  He made about 10 5+ saves.  That was it.

By then I had little left and he had enough to take the game.  It was intense and close. Just the way a game should be.  My opponent was fun and enjoyable. Great game! I lost, nearly massacred.

Game Three:
So I went to game three knowing I had to score a big win to stay in the runnings.  My opponent?  Death Wing with Belial.  Sanguinius was smiling upon me.  Some armies I match up well against, some I simply destroy.  Deathwing armies cannot survive.  My opponent realized this early but to his credit gave it his all.  The terrain allowed me to set him up for an epic assault in which I caught 4 squads of termies, the termy command with apoth, a land raider and belial.  They all died by I5.

The hero of the game though was my scout sergeant and his missile launcher buddy!  My opponent was shooting at that lil guy for 4 turns with speeders. They held out, killing speeders with missiles, moving up and taking one down with a combi melta, and finally assaulting any that got close enough with the fist.  Eventually they went down, but held up for most of the game, occupied like 5 speeders, and took half of them down in the process.  This opponent was good natured and took it all in stride.  I need to write down names!

So Game Four:
I found myself against a nice dude playing IG. He had little of the guard tricksy tricks though. He was playing blob guard with lots of chimeras but no Vendettas.  The deployment was table corners again. I had to destroy him so I went right for the jugular. The terrain, again, allowed me to set up the perfect storm assault.  I massed in the middle and prepped for jump.  He did not manage to stop my land raider, so on my next turn, my boys got the green light.  I sent every thing except for a 10 man assault into his blobs.  He had screens up to try to block me from getting into his blob, but I set up my assault in such a way that I was able to run through the screen with my chaplain and keep him in coherency. That brought most of his blob, unwillingly into the fray. The good part was that most of them could not even attack.  So, on the charge I killed at least 66 guardsmen. My opponent's did not like that. I don't think he was used to seeing so much blood.

I redirected an assault squad to go deal with a couple of Chimeras full of vets that went to try to take a corner.  They succeeded.  The heros of the game? My scouts again! This time my close combat scouts were charged by 4 sentinals.  Over the course of three turns they killed three of them and held on while Mephiston finally made his way over to save them. They went on to claim an objective and corner.

Here is where I have a little beef with Sportsmanship scoring.  I played this game well, with no arguements. I was polite and fun.  My opponent was the same if a little dull. We were above civil with no complaining what so ever. It was an "excellent game" as my opponent put it. His words.  I marked off max sportsman for him, then noticed that he dinged me with average. What the hell!  Obviously the guy could not separate his feelings from getting tabled from the enjoyment he voiced about the game.  Don't freaking tell me that was an excellent game, then ding me with sportsman scoring!  Especially after you watch me give you top points.  This would turn out to be my only non max score in sportsman on the weekend.  I don't go to GTs trying to win sportsman, but I do put a lot of effort into being a good sport while still beating face. It was an excellent game on both sides. Bah...

Honestly I should have just given him the win and not wiped him out.  That would have left me in the 2-2 bracket the next day with a solid chance at Ren Man any way.  I wish I knew!

So Saturday night came. The winds picked up and he booze started flowing. I found myself in the hotel bar again drinking Scotch.  A large group of guys ended up congregating and we had a great time.  I can't remember the conversations, but lots of snickering and laughs were there. I guess if all you can remember from a night is laughing, then that is all that really matters. There was plenty of that. That is why I went to Nova.

Sunday rolled around bright and early. The Hurricane had passed and 4 more games were upon us.  As it turned out, the games on Sunday did indeed matter for Ren Man.

Game One:
I was matched up against a Nid player, who is also a member of our armed forces. When he started telling me about his army I asked if he had any of that bone sword nastiness. He blew it off saying "Nah.. none of that.".  Making his army out to be harmless and feigning surprise that he was 3-1.  Well I knew better.  I looked at his army, and knowing Fritz, knew enough to ask the right questions.  He certainly was not going to share with me that his gaunts were I 5 base with preferred enemy, poison, feel no pain and rerolled 1s.  He had an army designed to beat foot marines. I had a foot marine army.  If I did not know better, he would have tabled me in two turns.  Sneaky military man.

So we played chess for a couple turns, me letting him come and finally assaulting where I wanted to.  I got his stealers, and most of his gaunts, but by then had little left.  He ended up tabling me.  His big bugs shut down Mephiston so had no fear against him, and the sanguinor got cut down by numbers.  He was surprised though at the fact that he lost more that game than any other game against an army of my type.  :)

Oh well 0-1.

Game Two:
After being tabled by nids, I found myself against the worst possible matchup.  Dark Eldar with lots of nasty poison and venoms.  I knew I would be fighting not to be tabled.  Worse, on his first shot of the game he managed to see a 1/4" of my raider which I had hidden behind terrain. Lance hits it, penetrates, I fail my cover and explode. Shrug.

I spent the next two turns hunkering behind terrain while he used his speed to get angles and hit me with a million shots.  Eventually I charged what I had left and started killing, but the game was never, ever in question.  This sort  of bugged me.  It was not my opponent's fault, he was not being a jerk, but he measured every inch, and made every move with the careful calculation of a guy on table one of round five of the invitational.  The game took the full time to play, and I think it spent maybe 15 minutes actually on my turn.  I think the guy might have been newer on the GT scene, but sometimes a dude needs to figure out when the unspoken mercy rule needs to come into effect. I pretty much demonstrated that I capitulated the game without saying so, and only came out of the terrain when I realized that I was going to have to roll every single save as he proceeded to shoot his entire army at me.  So I just jumped every thing into the middle of his army and made it easy for him. Tabled.  :)  Now, I knew I would lose this matchup when I made my list.  But I also learned a bit in loss. Next time I face this list, I will try a few things different and see if I can at least make a game of it.


Game 3
I found myself in a Kill Point game vs a Blood Angels army played by a guy who flew over from Scotland to play in the Nova! Outstanding.

He had a couple of land raiders, meph and rhino mounted troops. He also had lot of las.  The game settled into a game of attrition. He exposed a rhino squad, and I nabbed them with Mephiston, killing the rhino and assaulting the squad. But Meph failed to wipe them out.  That got me stuck in range of his terminators.  On his turn he brought out hammer time, and assaulted Meph. Knowing he was lost, I focused on killing that last squad and taking the kill point.  The hammers got him.  But this was a Win by 3 kill point mission.  I was now up 2-1.

Once again, I found my scouts playing hero.  I out flanked them, and they charged his back side. He was all bunched up in the far corner. I had no real range to get him and he knew it. But the scouts came on and did their thing!  First they shot the god hammer land raider that his Mephiston had taken over and immobilized it. This caused a lot of problems for him, and saved their lives in a way, because now mephiston could only get out the front because of the way every thing else was placed.  Then they assaulted a rhino that did not move, and exploded it with the fist.  But the best was yet to come. On his shooting, he unloaded on the scouts. And they LIVED!  My close combat scouts suffered the entirety of his shooting phase and survived.  They would die the next turn, but it mattered not.  This kept all those pesky las cannons from shooting at my raider and getting a lucky immobile result or worse.  It also kept them from targeting Sanguinor for lucky shots.

After a few turns I was up by a kill point.  He decided to get aggressive and that allowed me to move in. I struck quick and got away to scoop up kill points before the termies could get me.  Towards the end of the game he started spreading out to score other objectives, and put his juicy kill points (Rhinos) in range of my boys.  I took the opportunity and grabbed some kills while leaving Sanguinor and a full assault squad in the center behind terrain to hold his termies at bay.

The game came down to his last turn still. If he could manage to get a single kill point, he would force an objective draw and win on tie breakers.  But alas, he had exhausted all of his resources and was resorting to lucky shots from maximum range with melta guns vs my land raider.

When the dust settled, I held the lead by 3 in KP, and scored 3 objectives and 2 table corners.

Game Four.
At this point I thought I was out of the running for Ren Man.  This last game was going to be playing for pride. And I found myself matched up against Vinnie Pau and his very nice Guard army.  If you have ever met Vinnie, you would understand my chagrin. He has a reputation for slow playing and in general pissing off his opponents.  But let me tell you something. The Vinnie I met was nothing like the Vinnie I heard about.  First, and Vinnie I apologize if I am making assumptions, but being a teacher I recognize that he has obstacles. For example his vision is not great.  This combined with a high level of obsessive attention to detail might give opponents the wrong impression.  I can see where others wold mistake his intentions. I wanted to give Vinnie the benefit of the doubt and I am glad I did.  He was thoughtful, and interested in my army and we discussed painting and modeling. He asked me for feedback on his painting, which was great (His painting), and asked me for input on a project he has coming up.

At this point in the weekend, both of us were exhausted. We had blown our wad.  I was already transitioning into driving mode. I had decided that we would leave immediately after the awards. I had previously reserved my room for that night, but in light of the flooding caused by Irene in New Jersey, I decided that the best time to drive would be 11 to 4am.  (Good choice too, it took us just 5 hours to get home. My friend Ed left at 8am the next day and took like 14 hours to get home and should have taken no longer than me.)

Since the game didn't really matter we just decided to have some fun with it.  I lined up all my boys and simply charged into his gun fire.  He proceeded to mow me down as best he could. It did not stop Meph and The Sang from getting into his lines and tearing it up.  It was actually really fun!  I chased his stuff around the table and he tried to get away and survive. Towards the end he brought on some reserves in the back table corners which I ignored. They ended up winning him the game despite the fact that they and a Vendetta were all he had left and i actually had most of my army left.

It turns out that the game REALLY mattered.  It didn't matter to Vinnie, but had I won I would have gone five wins and three losses.  Ren Man won with a 5-3 record.  DOH!  Simply diverting one of my assault squads to go deal with his reserves would have probably won me Ren Man. :)  Oh well.

So the game ended. I enjoyed playing Vinnie and am glad I had the chance to dismiss a preconceived notion. Though I can say that at one tournament I actually finished my game and looked over at Vinnie and saw that he was still deploying.   So that notion had some warrant behind it. Speeed it up Vinnie!  Looking forward to playing you again.

At that point I was approached by the head paint judge and instructed to set up my army in the back room. It seemed my army was chosen as a finalist for Best Army and also my Sang was chosen as a finalist for Best Painted Single Mini.  What an honor! Honestly, I could have pointed out at least 10 armies that I thought deserved the honor and were just as good as mine if not better.  The fact that I made the top 5 or 6 flattered me. That I was considered for best single model absolutely made my day.  A well painted army as a whole can make up for the lack of single brilliantly painted models.  To get that duo recognition was a true compliment.  Joe Johnson got trio recognition with his Converted model. I thumb my nose at him.  :)

Joe Johnson likes pink.

Bob Evers impressed me once again.

Remember that Spike TV pseudoreality show? 


For the love of...

Again, Bob with the sweetness

Ed Miller every one! Go BFS

Beautiful Hand Painting

One of my picks for winning army...

The Cobra army!

Another one of my favorites to win best army.

Then the waiting started.
And continued. And on and on.
Ok. Negative Nova thing. The waiting after the games were done and the length of the awards. I think of any event I have ever been to, Nova set the record for longest wait/awards post tournament.

I did not actually keep track of time, but we left as soon as humanly possible after dice down, minus a short interview I did with a podcast, and we were not in our van until 11:30pm.  I don't know what time dice down happened, but I'm gona guess it was around 7pm? It took about 20 minutes for the hotel to bring us the van. That means that at least three to four hours elapsed between end of tournament and guys traveling home.  This, Mike Brandt, was much too long.  I believe the same amount of time at the first Bolscon was 20 minutes.  The last game ended and we were out the door 20 minutes later.

Mike, there is no need to explain. I get that Nova results were a little more difficult to figure out than Bolscon was. You wanted to make sure things were right.  But a 3 or 4 hour span between dice down and "Thank you good night" is simply too much.  Firstly, you over dramatized the drawings like only Ryan Seacrest could.  That process alone took an hour? We love the drawing! We love that simply staying in the hotel got us a chance to win a grand. We love that loot was given out as rewards just for being there. But I would have happily passed up all of the spinning of the name lots and drawing of the names to get on the road an hour quicker. Pull four names out of the can, and read the first three minor winners all at once, then pause for drama, and read the thousand dollar winner. The guys can accept their applause, then go get their money at a separate table and we can move on. Same process for handing out all of the extra booty.  Read off the list of names of all the minor bracket winners at once and have them come get their loot rather than individually waiting and clapping while each and every guy made their way to the table for pictures.  Then take a little more time for the major tournament awards as needed. Maybe I am completely out of line on this and I'm just being impolite.  If so I apologize, it is not my intent to slam Mike or the Nova, any one feel free to correct me... but the credits, thanks and awards were tedious. Perhaps if I were not driving out directly after I would feel different. But I know that at all events I go to, long awards ceremonies make me crazy.

And this is a general GT statement, not directly having to do with Nova.

This is for every one out there. Please don't ask or expect attendees to help break down the room.  We pay a lot of money to go to these events. Some much more than others. By the end of our 12th or 15th game, we are burned out, exhausted and barely walking from stiff joints and wrenched backs. The last thing a paid attendee wants to do is haul tables into a truck. I am not saying this happened at The Nova. But I have seen it happen at other events. The attendees are more than happy to take their terrain from the last table they play on and put it into the various collecting areas. But that should be the extent of what is asked of them. And more importantly, don't make them wait while the staff breaks down the room.  I personally jumped in with the staff at last years Mechanicon to help haul tables upstairs to the moving vans, simply to speed up the process. I was one of the only players to do so. It was my pleasure to help a group of great guys. I am not afraid of hard work and it seemed that the awards were not going to happen until that job was done. But again, I was the only player to do so, that means every one else was either too sore, too tired, or simply uninterested to help. I know the staff is just as anxious to get out as the attendees, and they are probably not even getting paid, but that is part of what they signed on to do.

Simply wait until the players file out, then break down. Forcing attendees to break down the event, or wait for that to happen is not right. Now, asking for any able bodied person to lend a hand is a different story! There will always be a few like me who jump in and help.  But it should not be expected. I have seen staff bark orders at attendees while they moved tables around with no idea where to put them with the promise that awards would not proceed until every thing was resolved.  Not cool.

I don't need to get much more into specifics about the awards ceremony at the end of Nova. It was just way too long. I'm sure Mike Brandt has heard this enough, and is already thinking about ways to solve it.

Now, the awards!  It was awesome that Mike spent a good portion of the entry fees on the awards. He gave a grand out to one person who stayed in the hotel!  That is awesome, and genius.  The hotel sets it's price on the number of people you promise them.  If you fail to provide that number of paid guests booking rooms, than the hotel changes the price.  At the first Bolscon, there was actually a hotel employee who was being paid by a place down the road to redirect people there to save a few bucks.  And people were doing it!  I don't think that Bolscon made their room guest quota because people were booking down the road instead to save 10 bucks.  Well offering a drawing of 2 grand cash total for people staying in the hotel is a good way to motivate them to spend that extra 10 bucks!  He gave out I think 4 cash prizes, with the grand prize being 1k.

Awards were given out to the winner of each day two bracket, best sportsman, best general (The winner of the open) and Ren Man.  Also awards were given out to Best Army, best conversion and best single model.  That business was wrapped up rather quickly, and I won Best Single Model!  There was some confusion though. Brandt did not want a winner of a major award to win another one. So Ren Man was not supposed to win one of the Best Painted categories. But as he was reading the awards, he realized that Ren Man also was going to win Best Army.  Frankly I think the award should go to the guy who deserves it.  If Ren Man also had the best army, best single model and best conversion, then he should sweep them all.  After a conference, Brandt decided to leave it as is.

And rightly so. The Cobra army deserved the win.

While I don't feel that the Cobra army was necessarily the best painted, it certainly deserved the win by scooping up rubric points that armies like mine did not. The conversion points. I mean to take nothing away from his appearance. His army was very well painted and clean. That takes skill. But if I had to pick one that was better painted, I would say Joe Johnson got him.   But how many of us could resist looking for all of our favorite Cobra characters in that army? I loved it.  Yup. Best Army definitely went to the guy who deserved it most.  That left me with Best Single Mini.  And I was shocked.  Firstly, my Sang was the first time I tried NMM.  But really it was unfathomable that of all the models in the room, mine would be selected as best. I had no idea. I am truly honored and proud.  Especially considering what I was up against. That plaque now has a place of honor on my trophy shelf.

So. Final thoughts on The Nova Open.

Brandt put on another amazing success.

As I predicted, GKs made up 25% of the invitational and won.  GKs did not win the Open, and their average is lower than some armies. The terrain had a lot to do with this because it forced them closer than they really wanted to be, and blocked all of their incredible dakka.

The Trios tournament was great fun.

Most of the blog posts I have read focus on the negative, making it sound like that is all that happened. Well, while I heard about it, I did not see any of it.  The negative comments that make up the majority of some of the articles I have read account for a fraction of what was going on at The Nova.  My overall experience was good. Good people, good fun.

The invitational was as I predicted, bad.  Bad in a sense that most of the guys who played in it, that I spoke to, were sorry they did.  It is not however because of jerks. Yes, shenanigans happened. But most of the guys playing in the invitational were civil and well behaved. No, the invitational was bad because it was simply too much.  That many high intensity games held before a high intensity tournament simply fatigued every one involved and resulted in some high intensity blow outs online.

That brings me to this point. I think The Nova has too many games.  Five games is great. Just the right amount. 7 games is pushing it. 8+ is just too much. As many have pointed out, the time limit forces a different play style. The time is usually the biggest factor in who wins games.  Since Mike Brandt broke up day two into several small brackets that were not necessarily predicated by record, (I don't think) he really could have arranged them loosely from the beginning.  People dropping threw off the numbers thus requiring bracket fudging. That means that day two needed not be a 4 game day. Neither did day one.  I believe that The Nova could easily have been 6 games and been just as successful.  That would have caused less fatigue, and less bitching post event.

Now, guys did leave early after losing their first game on Sunday. Some writers contend that this was because they knew that after losing their first game they had no chance at loot and criticize Mike Brandt and The Nova format. But I raise the question... how is this worse than any other 5 game GT where 80% of the guys know they have no chance at winning the tournament, but still play their games on Sunday?  Yes gamer fatigue may play a role there, less games would help, but disgruntled attitude towards playing meaningless games as far as the tournament is concerned has nothing to do with it.  Guys who bail on their last games at The Nova would probably do it any where.  The only guys bailing are the guys who thought they should be winning and were pissed off that they did not.

But in this case, again, the Irene factor weighs in.  Some guys just wanted to get home to their families.  Believe me, two years ago that was a foreign concept to me.  Have a kid and you will understand. Some dudes honestly left to get a head start on getting home to their wife and kids. If not for the fact that I was a painting contender, I might have myself.

The Venue was the biggest detraction from The Nova. At 109 bucks a night, the rooms were not unreasonable, but the hotel nickle and dimed us for every thing. I had to pay 50 bucks to use the internet for my time there. Their slow ass wireless.  They were gouging us for 7.00 a beer at the cash bar the first night. Getting food during the day was a slow process and not really possible during short breaks. What food we could get was high priced and not worth it. Even the water bottles in the rooms cost 3 or 4 bucks.The room we played in was cramped for the numbers, and dark. The staff was not incredibly helpful or friendly. Much the opposite of the venue of the previous Nova hotel where they were glowing, smiling and nice. This is fixable.

The time from final dice down to players on the road was 3 hours longer than it should have been. Please fix that Brandt!

Not a thing I mentioned detracts from my opinion of The Nova. It was a fantastic gaming event and I loved being there. I played some fantastic opponents and had great games. I met up with old friends and made new ones. Mike Brandt was open, and caring and listens to every word of advice. He and all of the Nova staff actively seeked out people, asking for their opinions, and seeing if they were happy.  Mike saw the true concern on our faces about our families, and did his best to put our hearts at ease. The judges, staff and every one else was open to discussion and listened when people spoke to them, and answered as fair as they could.

Those are the signs of a good event. Care, courtesy and fairness. Mike Brandt showed that those are the benchmarks of the Nova.

I think I can say that some guys (blog ranters) missed the point of The Nova.  Here is an example of why The Nova was a win.  John Steining went to the open with no hopes of winning any games at all.  He has only ever played a few.  He loves 40k for the painting. So, he predictably ended up in the 0-4 bracket vs opponents of the same level... and got two wins.  Guess what. John had a smile on his face the entire time and when I saw him at the end he proclaimed that he was indeed hooked.  He loved the nova! He loved that after four learning games on day one he found himself playing in four games against opponents he had a chance against, and used what he learned on Saturday against them. He admitted that he was indeed a better player after the Nova than he was before.

That boys and girls is what The Nova Open is about. That was Mike Brandt's vision, and that is why I love the Nova.  Competitive players winning big games and big prizes, and total noobs battling it out with glee against each other on the kiddie tables. (Term used affectionately)  The Nova is not without faults, but it's vision is intact. It was indeed the tournament that offered it all, and backed up that offer.  Sadly, it is not the exhausted but smiling faces that every one remembers. It is the angry blogger rants that resonate so loudly for weeks to follow. You guys do a disservice to what Mike Brandt has devoted much of his life to in the last couple years because you know what? He and every one else involved is doing this for pretty damn close to nothing. And they did it well. Very well indeed. For nothing.

Nothing of course except for those smiling exhausted faces.

Great job Mike, can't wait for Nova 2012.


Fall and winter GT circuit!

Hey folks!

Today I want to discuss three huge GTs that I will be attending in the coming months. The Nova Open kicked off the fall circuit with a bang!  I will be attending Battle For Salvation, The Mechanicon and The Conflict GT in the next few months. All three are great events that I have been going to since they started and are close to the NY Metro area on the East coast.

Coming up next is The Battle for Salvation.  This will be the second year of existence for the club's Grand Tournament based on The Nova format.  Last year Bob Sinnott and Ed Miller (Pissclams) ran the show and through lots of hard work and growing pains, put on a smashing success.  The slots sold out, many more than the club could have dreamed about coming! Prize support was very good for a first year event and every one was positive and happy.  Some big names like Stelek traveled all the way out to attend, and the armies were painted beautifully!  The competition was fierce to say the least.  Personally, I got whooped on and did not even make the cut for day two.

EDIT: I was mistaken with my details. I originally reported that this year would be much the same as last with people not earning spots for Sunday if they did not do well enough on Saturday. I was mistaken.  I suggest you take the time to read the rules HERE. But as I understand them, you will play four games on Saturday in the GT, then based on your record will be placed in a bracket for day two.  Within that bracket on day two you are facing a single elimination tournament. Win and keep playing, lose and you are done.  If you lose, your first game on Sunday you are invited to play in a 500 point tournament.  I'm personally not a fan of 500 point games, but this still sounds pretty cool! I like the win or go home aspect of the day two matchups. I also like that all players will be able to come back for day two. I am not a fan of events where you don't get to play the second day. Even though I was relieved to not have to last time.  I know at the first Nova I left disappointed because I missed the Sunday cut by just a few tenths of a point.  Be sure to read the site like I didn't do before making your decision!  :)

You can find out more details on the Battle for Salvation website. The biggest change this year is venue. This year the event will be held at the Palisades Mall!  The Conflict GT set the bar for NY area GTs by having theirs last year at this venue.  The space was huge and had lots of access to food and fun.  It was also very close to a great hotel.  It is easy to get to and the bathrooms have plenty of toilet paper.  ;)  Check out the site and register now.  I spoke to Bob and he said they are hoping for 64 entries.  I think you guys can smash that.  Get yourself in!  The Battle for Salvation is held Columbus Day Weekend. Look forward to a Doubles tournament, kill team event, GT and fun!

I wanted to take this time to promote Da Boyz GT which comes up two weeks after BFS, and is held in western NY State.  About 5 hours from NY City.  I have heard mostly great things about Da Boyz from guys who have attended. Last year Brent and Goatboy went!  The organizers are enthusiastic and the following of Da Boyz is dedicated. But I won't be attending for two reasons.  First of all, it's proximity to The Mechanicon and BFS.   The wife will have me by the Jawaballs if I take off for a GT that weekend.  As much as I would love to hit every GT I can, I do have to set limits on myself!  But also there is another issue. Comp.  I believe heavily against using strict comp in GTs.  I dislike being told that playing the army I want to play will pretty much result in me losing the tournament.  I spent about a million hours painting my current army up to it's level, and knowing that if I play it at Da Boyz pretty much means I am taking myself off the contenders list before we even start does not sit well with me.  For example, I can't even play both of my HQ choices, and playing either will immediately knock 30 points off my score.  So the model that won me Best Single Painted Mini at Nova would be forced to remain in the transport. Shame.

Having said that, I admire the organizers of Da Boyz for sticking to their guns.  This day and age, you have to go with what makes your event unique, and Da Boyz can certainly claim a level of uniqueness. Further, they have a large following of players that DO agree to the rules before going.  They also are VERY transparent with their comp. They make every effort NOT to hide their rules, so, if you buy your ticket you are agreeing to play by them.  Last year some guys went there knowing the rules, but still complained about getting crunched by them.  If you are looking for a tournament that is a little different than the standard Battle points for the win GT, then Da Boyz is for you.  Print out their matrix, design your list, and go have a good time!  I wish them Da Best.

Here is video of Brother Captain James prepping for Da Boyz, posted by Black Matt.

This leads me to The Mechanicon.  I have been going to The Mechanicon since it started a couple years ago, and it really was my "breaking in" event for GT Weekends.  Tony Spino and the guys have done nothing but impress me.  From my first experience, walking into the convention room to an expanse of beautiful tables, and staff members sipping whiskey, I knew it was going to be awesome.  This is also the place where I have made the most friends. For some reason The Mechanicon has been the most social and fun place for me. Perhaps because both times I have gone alone and been forced to make friends? TeD Nagel and Bill McFadden are two of a long list of names. Perhaps it is because of the stress free open gaming that goes on Friday night. Dudes hang out in the main room, cash bar selling cheap beer all set up, and chill.

The Mechanicon has come to be known as the GT for the Hobbies.  In the past Tony Spino, the TO has allowed soft scores to have a major effect on the final outcome. I think this is great because it allows guys who don't normally win GTs to have a chance, rather than the usual "Battle Points Beats All" approach.  It shakes things up and rewards guys who go with the complete package, playing and painting.  I.E. ME!  I placed third in the first Mechanicon and actually won last year.  Sadly though I hear murmur that Tony is reducing the effect that the soft scores have and increasing the battle point value. To this I say BAH.  Don't give in to the crybabies Tony!  There are dozens of events for the "Flavor of the Monthers" who thrive on events where painting doesn't matter.  Guys who show up with barely painted drybrushed armies that meet the three color minimum but smack of net list.  There were definitely some of these guys at Mechanicon, maybe not so blatantly "FotM" in that their armies looked at least like they took some care in preparing them. And I'm sure they were vocal about their displeasure of the ratio of soft scores to bat points.  But to them I say that hey, Tony was very transparent in the ratios.  No one went to Mechanicon and did not know that soft scores made up a huge part of the final outcome.  My point, and the same that I made with Da Boyz, is that Tony should stick with what made Mechanicon special, not give in to the masses crying about soft scores. 40k is just as much about good sportsmanship and painting as it is about battle points. Frankly, I'd rather play the guys who are more concerned with painting and sportsman than battle points any way.

Set up the venue, set up the rules, and let them come. They will!

You will go to Mechanicon or you will die die die.

Another thing that makes Mechanicon special is the overall hobby aspect. There are entire other rooms devoted to playing Blood Bowl, Privateer Press stuff, Space Hulk, Munchkin, you name it. There are also auctions for charity, and did I mention almost 24/7 cash bar in the game room with AFFORDABLE prices?

I hear that Tony is doing away with the infamous "exam" that pretty much awarded ten more points to the final score. This is infamous because any one with a laptop or smart phone could get the answers during the break between  games and scoop up free points. Rob Baer won Mechanicon the first year by being one of the only guys to catch on and scoring max points on the test while the next highest was like 3. (I came in third but didn't even turn in the test.) I won Mechanicon last year because essentially I got max exam points and the runner up got 9 on the test.  In my opinion doing away with the exam is a good idea. At least doing way with it's impact on the final outcome. Have the test. Give awards to the best score. But be prepared for 90% of the guys having max points and just giving it to a sportsman tie breaker. So in other words, give out a second Best Spotsman score.  At any rate, Tony is aware of the quiz issue and is taking steps to fix it.

My stompy stomp dread was about to cook up some crispy fried space pirate rapists.

As for Mechanicon tables, I was impressed with the quality of them.  The tables themselves are each two extra feet long, giving every one enough room to put their display boards.  It is a chronic problem at most GTs that there is no place to put your armies. Especially at places like Nova who forbid the moving of any terrain.

The terrain is cool, a lot of it made up of crashed Star Wars ships.  The nostalgic factor is fun!  In the past though, some of the tables were on the sparse side when it comes to coverage while some had too much. I played on one table that pretty much gave the win to my opponent. It had one of those big landing pads in the center. He was able to get in there with his oblits, and I was unable to root him out.  As if he needed such an advantage with his hard core list.

I look forward to seeing Tony and the guys at Mechanicon every year. It is in a convenient location and self contained in it's own hotel. With the focus on the hobby aspect of the game, the event tends to bring out the best in it's players. The tables are covered with dozens of beautiful armies, good sportsmanship is infectious and the beer and cookies are plentiful.  It does carry a hefty price tag of 125.00, but in my opinion that just improves the quality of the competitors. That price tag entitles you to your absolute fill of all things gaming with a mountain of prize support. Here is a list of things to do:

Warhammer Fantasy Battle Indy Circuit Tournament, 11/4
Warhammer 40K Indy Circuit Tournament, 11/5-6
Munchkin card game Tournament, 11/6

If you will notice, there is a full tournament on Friday called the Friday night fight. Yes, three rounds at 1850 with full prize support including Best Sportsman, Best Painted, Best General and Best overall.  Best of all, Forgeworld Rules are LEGAL! Time to bust out those sweet models you have never been able to play. Then there is the GT, then there are evening kill team tournaments that you can play between and after GT games, as well as Warmachine, painting challenges and The Iron Ogre painting competition. Taking all this into consideration, that 125 bucks does not quite seem so hefty.  The Mechanicon is what you make of it.  I choose to make the best, therefore I love the event.  See you guys soon Tony!

Finally, this coming January is The Conflict Gt. Aaron Fishkow has been running this event for 3 or 4 years now and I have attended every one. It is now being held at the Palisades Mall in Rockland, NY. A convenient drive for me from home.  This allows me to get in a sweet GT experience without catching too much wife agro!  The first couple of years there was some rocky feed back because of comp scoring with no rubric and inconsistencies. But last year Aaron turned The Conflict into a world class event.  He listened to the feedback and corrected every major issue.  The best part about the conflict is that it actually focuses on Fantasy! I guess best for you WHFB guys that is.  There are easily twice as many fantasy guys as 40k.  For me it is fun to meander through the rows of fantasy armies to see stuff I almost never get to see.  

I don't have a lot of info yet on The Conflict because Aaron has not yet updated the website from last year but if you are interested in seeing last years results and information CHECK HERE.  Once I get some updated info from Aaron on on The Conflict 2012 I will post up more information. To see some fun pictures from last year CHECK HERE. In the first shot you will see Danny Interenets battling Pissclams!  In the far background you see me in the rugby trying to stop my ears from bleeding from yet another rules "discussion" with Brother Captain James.

 I have known James for a while and when he and I play, all bets are off and sportsmanship is out the window.  The game is about dirty tricks and busting balls.  When I played him at The Conflict it was no different!  He ended up beating me, but he paid for it.  His Nid big bugs tried to poop out more little bugs, but when James placed them on the table they were only primed white.  (Unpainted.)   I really didn't have a problem with the unpainted models, despite the fact that they were illegal.  But the issue was that James refused to admit that they did not meet the GT requirements, claiming that they were legally painted and "based". (They were indeed on bases but were supposed to be "finished" bases.)  All he had to do was admit they were inappropriate for play, and I would have let it go. Any way, to cut to the short of it, at one point Aaron the TO was walking bye and asked me a question about another member of BFS who could not make it to day two. As I was talking to him, I nonchalantly directed his attention to James's beautifully painted tyranids, and his white primed gaunts, slyly asking his opinion on James's theme and contention that they met tournament standards. Well the volatile James attempted to defend his position, resulting in a "if you play them, you get no paint score" judgement from Aaron.  James went through the roof!  (And spent the break between games furiously painting his last few gaunts and cursing my name.)  Too funny. The picture of us in that slide show was taken shortly after. :)

Ok, thats enough for this post.  Next post will be Nova Open part two!


The Nova Open a Jawa Review

Unlike Irene, the Nova Open did not simply pass like a shadow in the night.  Once again, Mike Brandt put on a spectacular event!  Without knowing where to start, I will simply begin at the beginning and work my way through my drunken recolections of the weekend.

It started with bad news. I got a call from Fritz having to bail.  Major family issues came up and he had to go. My respects and well wishes to you and your family my friend.  But luckily for me, I guess, Brother Captain James was just a phone call way and always ready to jump on a free convention ticket!

So Smurf, his nephew Stumpy, BCJ and myself set out into the maw of the beast that would be Irene.  We bravely left our wives behind to deal with the house and kids while a category 4 hurricane took aim for CT and we treked south.  We had 40k to play dammit.  We would not be denied Trios glory!

It can be said that my own expectations for Nova were minimal.  I had no hopes for a Nova win, playing an army list designed around models that I liked to paint rather than play.  I went there with the intentions of meeting and greeting a lot of great people, drinking beers with said people, and hopefully competiting for some painting awards.  We wanted to win best team presentation for the Trios, and I hoped to compete for Best Army in the GT.  Some where at the back of my mind I had glimmers of hope for Ren Man, but I only expected to win one of my Day One games, so those thoughts were kept at a minimum.

We arrived at the hotel, eager to play and ears nearly bleeding from when BCJ found out he could not attach his Librarian to his Shrike/Terminator squad to infiltrate them.  That happened some where around the George Washington Bridge.

Our first impressions of the joint were, well... imposing. This was a real hotel! Not some Holliday Inn off the beaten path. This place was no joke.  Absolutely beautiful.  We checked in and unloaded our gear, then went down to the main floor to register.  Rob Baer was there setting up Spikey Bits and so was Romeo from Battle Foam!  A few hand shakes and a nod to Romeo and I was on my way. I wanted to speak to Romeo later, to thank him for his involvement with the Heroes of Armageddon project, and to shoot some video of him helping me create a custom bag for my new army.

Next up was the ever present Warstore, and a new vendor... The Black Library featuring none other than Gav Thorpe!  Gave Thorpe ladies and gentlemen!  I shook his hand, and thanked him for his work, and introduced myself.  There was a small glimmer of recognition when I said my online name, but that could have been him thinking about Star Wars, or thinking about how ridiculous the name sounds, or about what sort of idiot would name himself after a glow eyed nomads privates.  Internet Celebrity, meet real celebrity.  :)

I didn't get a chance to talk to him very much, but he did pop in a few times to see how my games were going, and gave me some much appreciated compliments on my Blood Angels.  Thanks Gav Thorpe.

Sadly though, the Black Library was not there very long and I had no cash to buy any thing at that time. I wanted to get some books on CD to listen to during my commute, but by the time I remembered and had cash, they were gone for good.  Irene scared away another one.  Thanks any way BL, I definitely wanted to support you guys and grab some stuff!

So on down the line I went, proceeding to the mini bar that was being set up to get a beer.  I asked for a Bud Light, trying to watch my figure, and almost coughed up a lung when the guy asked for seven dollars. What the hell did GW take over Bud?  That was a price increase of paint pot proportions!
I immediately knew that this was one guy who was NOT going to see a lot of business.  If there is one thing I have come to realize gamers will not spend boat loads of money on, it is beer.  In one of my few criticisms of The Nova, the beer bar was where the ball was dropped.  I say that because at two of the other major East Coast events I have been to where beer was served in the game room, the TOs prearranged "gamer special" prices.  The Mechanicon and Colonial. You see, charge us 3.50 a beer, and we will buy you out. You will make your money because we will drink all freaking night.  Charge us 7.00 a beer however, and your bar will be largely ignored as we dip into our own personal stashes on ice from our rooms. I am not saying they have to give us the bar. But offer us one cheap beer, Miller Lite for example, at a reasonable rate, and we will buy. Those that will not can pay the 7 bucks for Sam Adams.

I think that the bar realized this, probably because all of us drinking cans of beer were just putting our empties right on the bar tray, and did not bother setting up shop again. Hopefully in the future that issue will be resolved. 7 dollars for a bottle of Bud Light is ridiculous any where. Especially at the cash bar for a 4 day event.

Minor issue, but hey, we were there for four nights. At 7 bucks a beer, most of us would have been tapped out by 8pm Thursday.  Along that same vein, I think the Hyatt could have come up with some sort of easy access, affordable food.  Nothing fancy, turkey wraps and chicken salad. If they really were getting freaky, affordable chicken wings and fries. A simple gamers menu available round the clock.  Lets face it, we like our fried food and cookies and we like it all the time.  The hotel that housed The Colonial got with the program, and I'm sure they set records selling Bud Light, mini pizzas and Chicken Wings. All of which were cheap and easy for them to acquire, produce and serve.

I get it that the place was an upscale establishment. So was the one that housed The Colonial. But I think it is not too much to ask to create a menu that fits the client that is essentially living there for 4 nights instead of gouging them with a per bottle price that would buy a 12 pack in some stores like we were in some New York City glam club.

On with the event. Speaking of food... Brandt organized a social event with FREE FOOD!  Now we are talking. It was nice to be able to hang out and eat some decent grub and chat with people as they arrived.
Thursday night slowly turned into The Whiskey Challenge.  I knew I would be playing Rob Baer and I knew he would be packing something dirty, mean and pretty.

When he got me on the table, there was much less hype than last year. Maybe because we got started late.  Thats ok.  Last year I played Tim Williamson and we had a fun game that I won. This year the game was over in two turns.  I knew he was packing lethal nastiness, and I wanted to see just how much of a beating I could take. SO I charged my forces forward into the middle of the table. He then moved up his land raiders, and puked out 30 or so Deathcult Assassins.  About five minutes later, the time it took for him to roll 300 dice, my army was dead. It was a thing of beauty!  I think he flawless victoried me, even pulled out my spine.  Too bad I could not hit A B B A arrow arrow start.  (Or whatever the contra code was.) I don't think it would have mattered. If I had 100 more marines, they would have died just as fast. I wish there was more to write about this.  He knew what I was bringing, and packed a list he knew I would have no hope against.

Whiskey Challenge out of the way, I proceeded to get on with my night.  Thursday was a time to chat and chill.  I met up with lots of friends I have made over the last couple years and had a good time.  But the threat of Irene loomed over our head.  We had families at home and the news networks were blowing the storm into an epic catastrophe of biblical proportions.  I mean, really. At one point we saw an animated graphic showing lower Manhattan supposedly before and after the "projected" flooding.  For the love of good it showed all of Manhattan under 30 feet of water. (At least to the casual observers... i.e. most of the general public.)  No where did they explain that this was just an animation of what would happen in the infinitely small chance that that much water flooded into the city.  They almost made it seem like it was going to happen.  Same goes for all of the "stock" footage of houses getting blown apart.  No where did they say that the footage was actually of Katrina, 6 years ago.  They made it out to look like it was going on at that moment, when the truth was that the storm was still hundreds of miles off shore.  Shame on them.

I bring this up only because it put pressure on us all, not because we were particularly worried, but because our damn wives were.  Smurf must have gotten at least 300 text messages from his panicking wife. My wife called me crying because the news told her to prepare for the worst. She went to the Rite Aid on the corner and it was mobbed with people. She panicked because our flashlight was out of batteries and they were sold out, people were buying arm loads and pushing each other out of the way for gallons of water.

I don't want to down play the seriousness of a possible hurricane hit on the North East coast.  But for the love of god there needs to be a level of responsibility from CNN to provide information rather than scare the bejesus out of every one.  Some people, (on the coasts mostly) did suffer major damage. But my wife lost power for 23 minutes. Other than that she barely even noticed a storm outside.  Smurf didnt even lose power at home. He just had to spend a day clearing brush from his lawn.  But that came after his wife made him leave The Nova early on Saturday Morning.  She didnt actually force him to, but between the crazy media and her urging, he felt the need to be with her. I don't begrudge him that at all. He took a train home to CT from DC.

So, the storm passed with a fizzle. None of us even noticed it between our scotch and bar food.

On Friday, Smurf, Brother Captain James and myself entered the Trios event.  After a lot of thinking, I decided to enter the team event rather than play in the invitational.  I have some mild regrets because I certainly had a chance to win Ren Man in the Invite, but when I look at the fantastic day I had playing in the Trios, they are wiped away.  I had a fun and entertaining day of 40k.  At the end I was happy, refreshed and ready for more. The same cannot be said about the invitational players.  :)

My army on display.  A finalist for Army at a Glance (Best army)

One of our big goals for the weekend was to take Best Team Presentation at the Trios.  Smurf and I built a three piece display board for our armies and with a little bit of work managed to make the third piece match James's army since it was originally done to compliment Fritz's Grey Knights.  We proceeded to get our butts kicked on the tables.  The format was three rounds, in each round one of us would play alone while two of us played doubles.  Each of us would play a singles game and two doubles.  James and I opened up together leaving Smurf to his fate vs a Templars player.  We all got smoked. It didn't help that the first two shots against Smurf of the game would each kill one of his thunder fires, and James forgot to move Shrike into combat leaving him exposed and dead next turn.  No worries though, our opponents, Team Bastard as we started calling them, went on to win the whole thing.

In round two I played with Smurf and we had a tight loss while James played alone and got whooped on.

Finally though, in round three, the stars aligned. I scored a crushing victory vs a Mech ork player with the usual battle wagons, shields and nobs.  A few failed shield saves on his part left a lot of his orks on the ground and ready for assault vs my entire army.  James and Smurf managed to pull out a close win.

So after three fun filled rounds of 40k, the awards came and we had won the Best Presentation by a land slide!  In the scoring, one of us could enter Army at a Glance, one could enter a single best painted mini, and one of us could enter a single conversion.  We went for the big points in Army at a Glance and I entered my army for that.  Though I could have probably entered my Sanguinor into best single mini while James entered his army into Army at a Glance and we could have scored more points.  James entered a converted terminator that looked like a Tech Priest for Conversions, and Smurf entered his Forge World dread for single mini.  I think the next closest team score was about 70 points behind us.  That with our team display board sealed it.

To be fair, we were the only team that actually tried to win presentation. And really I don't even think there were a lot of teams who had time to prep together.  I think most of them were just thrown together for the event. But I know that Team Bastard did prep. Those jerks (Used lovingly, they were great guys) actually won a trios tournament a week before that they entered in prep for Nova.

No worries. To the victor goes the spoils.  Our loot? A sweet plaque for the Man Cave and a 50 dollar credit for a resin base company.  Heh.  The Jawa-Forge shuddered. Smurf and I gave our credits to James.  I think they actually sell other stuff. No biggie. James could use the loot.

Later that day I met up with Romeo from Battlefoam.  In thanks for his support of the Heroes Project I wanted to shoot some promotional footage of his product. What better time to have him sit with me and design custom trays for my new army!  We pulled out my models and he lined them up, tracing them onto his form and planning out which trays each model would ride.  He also showed me an awesome new bag that is not even out for retail yet and sold me a prototype.  Video to come.  Thanks to Romeo for every thing you did for the Heroes of Armageddon.  The Blood Angels army was lost in UPS shipping for over two weeks. When we finally got the army back, the box looked like it spent two weeks on a rice truck in Somalia.  Thanks to Battlefoam, the models inside suffered minimal damage!

Friday was more of the same. Lots of laughs and war stories at the bar.  I ended up at the Hotel bar, where surprisingly the beers were two dollars less than the ones they were trying to sell at the cash bar.  Weird.  By that time though I was drinking scotch.  The evening was more subdued though, we had a long weekend still to go.

Thats enough for this post. I will add pics and video and do up a part two asap.

More to come.

Community time!

Here are some snippets from the community.

First, I got an email from a blog reader who liked my Mephiston conversion so much he wanted to try his own!

I think this conversion is again WAY better than the existing Mephiston model.  And the vampire wings were a nice touch.

In other news, a new commission site called Worthy Painting is having a promotional giveaway in conjunction with my friends from the great white north Mini Wargaming whom I had the pleasure to meet at Gamesday.  These guys are giving away a thousand POUNDS worth of loot (I think thats about 1600 bucks) and all you have to do to qualify for the give away is to subscribe to the site and email them.I think I'm going to enter myself, and if I win, give the loot to one of you! :)  Here is some video from Worthy Painting:


I get lots and lots of emails asking for advice on list building.  There are two kinds of requests. The first is from beginners asking me to tell them what to play.  They have no idea what lists work and are looking for a starting point.  For these guys I can't really do much list analysis and I hate to pigeon hole beginners into a specific list. So I usually tell them to go with their hearts, and use one of the lists over on the right as a starting point.  Most of these guys, by the time they figure things out, would probably not be playing the list I gave them any way.  So if you fall into that category, Go with your heart!  I started with Whirlwinds and scouts and hell, I almost won Ren Man at Nova this year with two squads of scouts in my army, including Close Combat scouts!

Now the other type of requests I get are from guys who have obviously done their leg work. And these I love to answer.  Usually they are guys prepping for a tournament and need some final advice on tweaking their list. Recently I responded to one, and got this reply:

Hello Mr. Jawaballs
First of i want to say that I'm not a celebrity whore and I'm not
trying to make you my best friend, but after the last mail about my
jump pack list I started Thinking. After the thinking was done I sad
down and wrote my army list over again. When that army list was
complete i saw one of your old live shows and you said that Dante was
bad... Correction, horrible. So afterwords i sad down again and
rewrote the list so there was no Dante, But that meant no Sanguinary
Guard as troops, and since i had used all of the elites i had to think
again. The point being, I can't use the army list before you approve
it as playable. Or maybe there's something that needs to be changed.
So here you go Mr. Jawaballs, The best army list in the world!

Ps. did you get some inspiration from the last list??? And BTW i'm
from Denmark so my spelling may not be that good

Blood Rain

Reclusiarch Tenebrae
Reclusiarch With Jump Pack  155

Librarian Cronus
Librarian With Jump Pack, Shield Of Sanguinius  125
And The Sanguine Sword

Honour Of Blood
Honour Guard With Bolt Pistols, Jump Packs,  270
Blood Champion, Chapter Banner, Power Fist
And 2 Power Weapons.
Joined By Reclusiarch And Librarian

Priest Purpureus
Sanguinary Priest With Jump Pack And  100
Power Fist

Priest Albulus
Sanguinary Priest With Jump Pack And  100
Power Fist

Priest Pulliaceus
Sanguinary Priest With Jump Pack Power Fist  115
And Infernus Pistol

White Wing Strike
5 Man Assault Squad With Power weapon  130
And Infernus Pistol.
Joined By Priest Purpureus

Blood Drop Support
5 Man Assault Squad With 2 Hand Flamers.  120
Joined By Priest Albulus

Heavy Red
5 Man Assault Squad With Infernus Pistol.  145
And Thunder Hammer
Joined By Priest Pulliaceus

Fast Attack
Red Lightning
Vanguard Veteran Squad With Jump Packs,  240
2 Power Weapons, Power Fist And Storm Shield

Total  1500
Looks like I need to be careful what I say!  First of all, don't worry, I understand.  But lets talk about Dante for a second.  He is not horrible. He gives a nice debuff to your opponent, and allows you to put something deadly right where you want it.  But in comparison to Dante of old, (PDF Dante) he is not as good, not even close.  I don't recall but I believe he is more points now.  Feel free to look em up.  But there are two translation omissions from PDF to Codex that really hurt. First of all, the Perdition pistol used to act as a regular melta gun with a 12" range. Now it is just a melta pistol with 6" range, 3" melta range.  This means you will never be able to attach him to a squad of more than 5 guys and use it upon landing.  You have to be WITHIN 3" of a vehicle to use it. You don't scatter, but you have to ring the squad around Dante.  So placing him WITHIN 3" of a vehicle means that it is impossible to get more than one ring around him upon deepstrike, which means that he will not be able to have more than 6 or 7 models land with him.  Small point, probably circumventable, and probably a non issue.

But the glaring omission is his preferred enemy bubble. The PDF Blood Angels were amazing with their Ven Diagram of Death.  Corbulo and Dante had bubbles of Furious Charge and Preferred Enemy.  This was awesome.  The perferred enemy was removed from Dante.  This is bad.  

In return for the loss, he got a death mask which helps a bit in close combat, a -1 stats debuff to enemy IC, and the ability to turn San Guard into troops.  Well, the debuff is pretty much a free ticket to bad sportsmanville. (Guys hate that, and most cannot separate themselves from dinging your sportsman score for "cheating".)  And San Guard as troops is nice, but when you think about the fact that they are probably not going to survive, ever, not so good.  These guys are going to be in the hottest zone on the table. They are going to be facing the worst the enemy has to offer, suffering terrible psychic powers and hordes of power weapons.  Having them as scoring matters not when they are all dead.  See the point?  Besides, I am not sold on the value of the San Guard any way.  3 attacks on the charge, no invul, very expensive.  One squad as a fire magnet may be a good idea, but lots of them is a point sink that is one Plasma Vet Squad away from dead.

So where does that leave me with this list? 

I like your non character approach.  Mephiston, for all of his awesome, is expensive.  I have not decided if he is better than a chaplain/lib combo instead.  

I like your honor guard choice. The wargear is appropriate.

I dislike your priest choices.  Take the fists off. They are independent characters, and as such, will be targeted hard.  If they are waiting until last in combat to take their swipes, they probably won't get them.  Smart players target them and simply take em out with a power weapon.  Give them Power Weapons instead, and take a couple infernus pistols with the savings.

In your troops drop your infernus pistols and hand flamers and go with Melta Guns.  The loss of a single chainsword attack is minimal compared to the range of the Melta Gun.  The hammer is nice though, but in a 5 man squad you run the danger of losing them before ever using it.

Vanguard Vets?  I love em.  

Sadly though, DoA Blood Angels are a 50/50 army.  You will win big or lose big. You will never be able to win those drawn out slug fests, or have the versatility to win the wonky missions.  You have one tactic choice, full attack.  When that fails, and it will half the time, you will lose.  But you will have fun doing it.

Hope that helps!  

Thats all I have time for today!  Nova Review next.